Relying on Ourselves and Our Supports During Challenging Times

Relying on Ourselves and Our Supports During Challenging Times

by Bracha Jakofsky, MSW, Mental Health Educator 

In these tough times, we may find ourselves seeking to balance our feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, trauma and loss with hopefulness for a better year ahead. Fortunately, we possess the innate capacity to move forward in a meaningful way by reaching into internal reservoirs of strength and resilience.  

Resilience is a way to improve our mental wellbeing by coping with difficult or challenging life experiences, stress and adversity. Resilience helps us interpret life events in a more positive manner, maintain a hopeful outlook and tolerate negative emotions. Resilience is a process that can be worked on daily. Here are some ways we can improve our resilience and build our skills around tolerating and overcoming daily life challenges.  

Be Kind to Yourself. Allow yourself to go with the flow; recognize your feelings, name them, and then feel them. Accepting and openly acknowledging the uncertainty allows us to face anxiety, while helping us take control of any anticipated challenges. 

Increase Connection. Start by connecting with yourself and consider what uplifts you; what helps you get through your day. Create daily rituals that add a bit more joy and happiness to reenergize you. Carve out time for yourself to allow you to be true to who you really are. 

Continue by nourishing positive and healthy relationships with family, community and your social network to provide support and guidance. Supporting others can also add meaning and purpose to your day as well as give perspective to your own challenges. This might be starting off your day with a text or note to someone you love. 

Reframe Thoughts. Seek to embrace a more positive attitude. Optimism is closely linked to resilience. Pushing yourself to reframe negative thoughts to positive ones increases flexible thinking and your ability to adapt to challenging times.  

Express Gratitude. Adopting an attitude of gratitude can look different for everyone. Start by trying to find something to be grateful for, big or small, which will help shift the focus on what is going right instead of everything that may be going wrong. Keeping a gratitude journal and savoring good times may be helpful ways to practice.  

Draw on Past Experience. Look back at what you may have learned from past challenges and apply those same coping strategies in the current moment.  

Practice self-compassion! Remember that change takes time. Find moments to thank those around you but don’t forget to thank yourself as well! Appreciate your own efforts towards positive change and celebrate the small wins. 

Reach Out for Help. Facing adversity and building resilience is hard! Seek external support if you feel you are unable to function or make the changes on your own.